Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Journey Home

The last time I updated my blog was June 25 with my letter to my son, Dear Cash William. I was still pregnant and was measuring 34 weeks. Little did I know that shortly after that post, I would meet my little boy. This blog is about our journey home. Trigger warning for Preemie and NICU moms. This will be a long post. 

On June 26th, I went to my OB for a followup and to have my blood pressure monitored. First, I had my weight checked. I was shocked to see I had gained nearly 30lbs in less than 2 weeks. I knew I had gained, but never would have imagined so much. My blood pressure was high when first checked. They opted to do a manual blood pressure reading and it read higher. I was sent to labor and delivery in hopes they could get my blood pressure down.

I was at the hospital for several hours being monitored. At first, they had no plans to keep me over night. They were getting my discharge papers for me and sending me home on strict bed rest. Then, as I got up to change out of the hospital gown, my blood pressure jumped to the 180's and I was admitted.

It was a miserable night. Every hour I was woke up for tests and monitoring. I started to have contractions, although I wasn't feeling them. My blood pressure was up and down all night, even when resting. The following afternoon, my doctor came in with the news I had severe preeclampsia. My protein shot up from 45 to 4500 in less than 2 weeks. Then, she told me I was being transferred to a hospital in Fresno that handles high risk, preterm, preeclampsia patients.

I was in the hospital for a few days. The goal was to keep me there, on strict bed-rest, for 2 weeks. Of course, this was totally dependent on my body and how much I could and was willing to push it. I was willing to stick it out far longer than the doctors ended up letting me. 

On Monday, June 29th, about 8PM PST, My blood pressure shot up to 188/110 while on medicine to lower my blood pressure. At the same time, my oxygen levels dropped. Both the blood pressure and oxygen monitor alarms went off and 2 nurses ran in. One of the nurses put an oxygen mask on me and as she was doing so, the doctor came in. He told me my liver and kidneys were showing stress and, at that point with my blood pressure jumping and oxygen levels diving, he had no choice. He told me he was going to have to take my baby by emergency c-section and it had to happen as fast as possible. I freaked out because my husband wasn't there. I had sent him home because I was feeling fine. Keyword, was. I asked the doctor if my husband had enough time to make it to the hospital, nearly an hour away. The doctor said, "Tell him to drive fast". My husband walked in as they were rolling me out to the operating room.

Leaving my hospital room and rolling to the operating room, I was scared to death. I was only 32 weeks, said to be measuring 34 weeks. What if he was only 32 weeks? I was terrified. NICU was unavoidable at this point, whether 32 or 34 weeks. I just wanted my little boy to be ok. I wanted to keep him in and let him grow more. But, that wasn't possible. My placenta was attacking my body.

My c-section wasn't pleasant. I had a rough stick with my spinal block and during surgery I could feel more than just pressure. I didn't really hurt, but I could feel pinching and pricks in my abdomen. On top of this, I felt like I couldn't breathe. My son was up in my ribs, so they had to push down to get him out. It's not like they just cut you open and pull the baby out. They push the baby to the hole in your stomach. The worst part of it all, is wondering if he was going to be ok when he came out. 

The 5 seconds I got to see my baby
While in the O.R.
When Cash William was pulled from my stomach, I literally felt empty. I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. All I could see was my husband to my left and what looked like a tarp over top of me. I couldn't see what they were doing and worst of all, I couldn't see my baby boy. Then, I heard him cry and I lost it. He was breathing. He was ok. My husband had to calm me down because I was sobbing so hard. The nurse brought him over to show me my baby boy. He was perfect. I didn't get to hold him. Only 5 seconds and he was taken out of the room to NICU. He was only 32 weeks and weighed 3 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 16 inches long. 

I was taken to recovery. I wasn't going to get to see my baby boy that night. Once NICU had Cash set up in his room, My husband was able to go in and see him for a bit. I however, didn't get to see him for 2 days. TWO DAYS. It was torture. I was on strict bed-rest due to my blood pressure, the magnesium I was on and intense swelling. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life.

Photo my husband took while
visiting with our son.
Thankfully, my husband went to NICU and sat with Cash. While there, he skyped me. He took tons of pictures for me on his phone too. Not only is it hard not getting to see your baby other than by phone.. It is even harder seeing your baby in an isolette with wires and tubes all over him. 

We had no guaranteed timeframe of how much time we were going to be making the NICU our second home. They told us to expect his due date, which wasn't until August 22.. could be earlier, could be later. 

The day I finally got to go see my son, my husband took me by wheel chair. I was still having blood pressure issues, severe swelling and was only taking Motrin for pain. Rolling down the hall and seeing the doors for the NICU, I was extremely nervous and scared. Of what? I'm really not sure. None of those feelings existed when I laid eyes on him. 

His doctor came by his room immediately when we came in.  She said Cash was doing well. He had been taken off of the oxygen at this point, yay! The steroid shots I received before my transfer to Fresno helped him SO much. He was so tiny. His doctor allowed us to do skin to skin and we were able to feed him the colostrum I pumped through a syringe. During his NICU stay, learning to eat was his biggest challenge. 

I was discharged from the hospital after a week. The same day I was discharged, Cash was moved to NICU II. I cried. I was happy he was moved a step up.. but tortured by the fact that he no longer had a room and I couldn't stay with him. We stayed until shift change and then we had to make our drive back to Lemoore. I cried walking away, I cried being rolled to the car and cried the entire way home. I felt like I was living a nightmare. 

Discharge day!
Every day, my husband and I made the drive to the NICU. Every day for 5 weeks. It was like a roller coaster where you're being drug by your ankles... and I never thought it was going to end.

We had set backs with digestive issues, Jaundice, Aspiration, and the length of time it was taking him to learn to eat. We were literally having to teach him how to eat. The day we were told we'd be discharged, they found a heart murmur and almost didn't release him. Thankfully, he was allowed to come home and we scheduled a follow up for his heart (All is well! He has a narrow valve and it'll either grow with him or he'll grow out of it!).

After NICU we had an ER visit via ambulance with a seizure-like episode. Little man has severe reflux. He still has the digestive issues, so he is off Neosure because it makes his reflux so so so much worse and is only strictly breastmilk.

This is the short version. I wanted to blog sooner, but I was a bit preoccupied. Cash is now 3 months old today! He left NICU weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces and today, He weighs 10 pounds, 1 ounce! He's classified as a rapid gainer and will likely adjust by 12  months vs the 2 years expected! Woot! Grow Cash grow!

Our journey through pictures: